In the past twenty years, China has faced three American presidents, but till coming to Yale today, I never realized that China really just faced one university. Although, through these three presidents, I understand that the quality of Yale graduates is not so even.
Let me begin my main subject and let me give it a title, called “My Story and the Chinese Dream Behind It”. I want to talk about five particular years. The first is 1968. That year I was born. But it was also a chaotic year for the world. In France, there was this huge street disturbance, and in America, too. Then President Kennedy was assassinated. However, I really did not cause all of these! But that year what we remember more was the assassination of Mr. Martin Luther King. Although he fell that year, his words “I have a dream” stood up, not only stood up in America, but across the whole world.
But sadly, not only for me, but for almost all Chinese, we did not know such a dream. It was hard to describe each Chinese as having his or her own dream. China and America were so far apart, no less far apart than the Moon and the Earth. But I didn’t care about any of that. All I cared about was could I have a full meal. Clearly, I was born at a very inconvenient time, not only for China, but even for the world, there were problems.
In 1978, ten years later, I was 10. I still lived in the very little city that had only 200 thousand people at the time I was born. It was 2000 km from Beijing. If you wanted to read the newspaper from Beijing, you waited three days. So for us, there was no such thing as news. That year my grandfather passed away. Two years before that my father passed away. So there was just my mother left to take care of me and my brother. Her monthly salary was not even ten dollars. As a result, even though I was 10, the word “dream” was still not in my vocabulary, and I would never think of it. I could not see hope in this family, but only felt bitter cold every winter. Where we lived was close to the Soviet Union. Yet the 1978 in which I could not see hope was also the year that a huge change took place, whether for China or for the relationship between China and America. That is a date that everybody here today should remember.